Blue Mountains News
Australian Heritage Festival 2019 - Connecting People, Places and the Past
As part of this festival, Lithgow Library and the Lithgow and District Family History Society have prepared an exhibition of photographs, images, documents, and a set of biographical research posters commemorating the 1919 outbreak of the Pneumonic Influenza in Lithgow.
“This was a hard time for the people of Lithgow,” said Mayor Ray Thompson, “It’s important that we remember those who died and the community that pulled together to make it through and support each other”.
A total of 102 people died in the Lithgow area from the beginning of April to the middle of May 1919, reaching a peak of 13 deaths in one day on 26 April (Owen, 1919). This put enormous pressure on the cemetery and graves could not be prepared fast enough, compelling Mayor Robert Pillans to step in and organize and supervise men to dig the graves (Owen, 1919). It also added to the pressure on the Small Arms Factory, already disrupted by a seasonal influenza of 1918 and industrial actions (Griffiths, 2018).
To commemorate these bleak days the Library is holding an exhibition of original photographs, images and the Lithgow City Council’s Infectious Disease Register. The images feature the Lithgow Emergency Hospital and staff, the Small Arms Factory and people affected by the ‘Spanish’ Flu Pandemic.
There will also be a guest speaker event on 11 May 2019 from 10:00am to 1:00pm. Bookings can be made to attend these free history talks which will include light refreshments by contacting the Lithgow Library on 6352 9100.
Exhibition: 18 April to 19 May 2019 Photographs and documents.
Guest speaker day: 11 May 2019 10am to 1pm.
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